Monthly Archive for November, 2007

Press Release – O’Gorman calls on Department of Education to facilitate temporary site for Castleknock post-primary school immediately

27/11/07

Green Party Dublin 15 representative, Roderic O’Gorman, has called on the Department of Education to facilitate a temporary site for a new secondary school for the Castleknock-Carpenterstown area immediately. He was speaking after he and Cllr Joe Corr, Chairperson of the County Dublin Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) met with representatives of the Castleknock Post-Primary Schools Group.

“I am calling on the Department of Education to immediately facilitate the setting up of a new post-primary schools for the Castleknock-Carpenterstown area by facilitating a temporary site for such a school. Having looked at the detailed presentation from the Castleknock Post-Primary Schools Group, it is clear that there is an urgent need for a new school to be up and running by September 2009. It would be impossible to have a permanent school building ready by that time, so I think it’s vital to situation the school in a temporary location now and then develop a permanent campus”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

“Further, I am calling on the Minister for Education to include the new Castleknock post-primary school within her New Schools List for 2008. From 2009 Castleknock Community College is going to have to turn away the equivalent of two full classes – 60 students – each year. This is why I am asking the Minister to act now and prioritize the development of this new school”.

“At present, the most suitable location for the new school would seem to be the Kellystown area. In our meeting, the Castleknock Post-Primary Schools Group outlined their concerns about the health risks of locating the school near the M50, as was initially suggested. Both myself as the local Green Party representative and Joe Corr as the Chairperson of the VEC will continue to work to bring about this vital piece of educational infrastructure for Dublin 15 – the countries fastest growing area”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Press Release – O’Gorman sets out short and medium term steps to protect Tolka Valley

27/11/07

Green Party Dublin 15 representative, has set out short and medium term proposals to protect the Tolka Valley from further destruction. He was speaking after attending a meeting hosted by the Socialist Party and the Dublin 15 Environmental Group in Mulhuddart Community Centre about plans to build a large sewage pipe through the Tolka Valley as it stretches between Mulhuddart and Blanchardstown.

“I’m deeply concerned about the proposal the Fingal County Council seem to be considering. Not only would it do major damage to the Tolka Valley Park as a recreational facility for people in Dublin 15, this plan will do major damage to the ecology of the valley. In particular, it will destroy spawning beds for brown trout that have been restocked into the river by local youth groups such as the Tolka River Valley Alliance (TREA)”.

“Fingal County Council currently have part of this proposal on public display. I am calling on all concerned residents within the Dublin 15 area to write to the Council and outline your objections to such significant damage being done to a major environmental resource right in the middle of Dublin 15. The Council must be pressured into finding an alternative route for this pipeline that goes through less sensitive areas”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

Roderic O’Gorman also made proposals for the protection of the River Tolka in the medium to long term.

“The Tolka river has been constantly under threat for the last number of years, whether from plans to widen it near Kepak, fish kills from pollution or the current scheme. If we are going to protect the Tolka in the medium to long term, we need to set up a Catchment Management Scheme for the river. This can be done under the Fisheries Amendment Act, 1999 and would bring together farmers, commercial fishermen, anglers, tourism and recreational interests, the Fisheries Boards, State, public and voluntary agencies along with the private sector. I believe that it is only through undertaking such a coordinated approach can we ultimately ensure that the river is protected as the major environmental resource that it is”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Press Release – O’Gorman welcomes election of Green Party councillor as Chair of the Dublin County VEC

25/11/07

Dublin 15 Green Party representative, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the election of Green Party Fingal County Councillor, Joe Corr, as the new Chairperson of the Dublin County VEC.

“I’m delighted to see my colleague, Joe Corr elected to this important position. As a councillor for the Balbriggan ward, Joe represents an area where towns such as Balbriggan, Rush and Skerries have experienced massive growth. Just like in Dublin 15, schools provision at primary and secondary level has not matched this increased development and Joe is familiar with dealing with these issues”.

“I was particularly happy to see that, in his speech on election, he specifically mentioned the development of the Phibblestown and Hansfield VEC schools as priorities for his term of office. Myself and Joe will also be meeting with representatives of the secondary schools group in the Castleknock/Carpenterstown area to progress the development of this much needed new secondary school”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Press Release – Fingal decision to impose flat waste fee ignores polluter pays principle– O’Gorman

20/11/07

Green Party Dublin 15 representative, Roderic O’Gorman has described as deeply disappointing, the decision by the Management of Fingal County Council to impose a flat rate charge on households for the collection of waste in Fingal.

“I’m deeply disappointed that the Council management have decided to proceed with a flat rate charge on top of bin tags and ignore the polluter pays principle. The best part of the system that Fingal has run over the last number years is that you only pay for the waste you create. This new system will make no distinction between those who try their very best to cut down on their waste and those who don’t recycle at all. However, I do welcome the commitment the commitment by Fingal County Council to have a two weekly green bin service and a two weekly brown bin service rolled out county wide next year”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

Roderic O’Gorman also stated that he would be writing to the Director of Environmental Services, PJ Howell, to get detailed information as to how the Council intended the new system to work.

“Firstly I wish to ask why, if extra revenue was needed to fund waste disposal, the option of increasing the price of bin tags was not chosen, as this would have reflected the polluter pays principle. Secondly, I want the Council to confirm that households will not be charged this new flat rate before they have received both their brown and green bins. Finally, I think further clarification is needed about what new materials can be put in the green bin – will it take glass for example?”

“Residents across Dublin 15 have embraced recycling up to now, but their faith in the system will be tested by this new decision. We need answers to these questions if we are going to continue to have confidence in the service being provided by the County Council”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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Further Information
Roderic O’Gorman: 087 417 9777

Editors Note
The following questions have been put to PJ Howell by Roderic O’Gorman:

1. In light of the funding shortfall for household waste services, why did Fingal CC decide on the option of imposing a flat fee, rather than increasing the price of bin tags and thus fully reflect the polluter pays principle?
2. In the even of future funding shortfalls, do you anticipate that the gap will be made up by increasing the cost of bin tags, the yearly flat fee or possibly a combination of both?
3. Can you guarantee that no household will be charged the flat-fee until they have been provided with a working brown and green bin service, each picked up every 2 weeks?
4. What types of plastics will we now be able to put in the green bin?
5. Will we be able to put glass in the green bin?

Bus strike over!

I’m very glad that we finally have had a resolution to the bus strike. The reduction of bus services and the complete cancellation of some routes for the past week has caused major hardship for commuters. Hopefully the dispute between unions and management in Dublin Bus has now been fully resolved, though it really wasn’t fair that so many people had to be put at a major inconvenience before the two sides agreed to negotiate.

Just like thousands of other daily bus users, I had to make alternative arrangements for the week to get in and out of town. Obviously, for those that can afford taxi’s or hackney’s, there was an option. But considering the price of a cab journey from Dublin 15 to the City Centre, I’m sure there were countless commuters who actually missed days at work, particularly during the first days of the strike. It’s a pity that people like this didn’t feature a bit more in the overall coverage of the dispute.

Speaking of Dublin Bus, the bus I got into town this morning was suffering from a chronic attack of ‘bus flood’. ‘Bus flood’ occurs when someone leaves one of the windows on the upper floor of a bus open on a rainy night and the passangers are greeted the next morning with a pool of water sloshing around the upper floor of the bus. Obviously, due to turns, the water eventually cascades down to the lower level, leaving the entire floor of the bus (and plenty of feet) soaked.

I suppose I should be grateful that there was any bus at all!!

Press Release – O’Gorman welcomes increased funding for Fingal water treatment plant

18/11/07

Green Party Dublin 15 representative has welcomed the allocation of funding for a major expansion of Fingal’s water treatment plant in Leixlip.

“I very pleased to see that the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley has allocated Fingal County Council €43 million to fund an upgrade of the Council’s Water Treatment Plant in Leixlip. This extra funding will increase the capacity of the water treatment plant from 148 to 215 million litres per day. The Fingal area has grown massively over the last 10 years and it is essential that our water supplies are 100% compatible with drinking water standards”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

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Vehicle emissions and hot air

The news that John Gormley is going to start increasing motor tax on vehicles that have high emissions has created quite a stir. Tom McGurk is most righteous in his criticism in his Sunday Business Post column (is he ever anything else?).

Personally, I’m delighted to see John is acting early on this commitment contained within the Programme for Government. Rebalancing motor tax onto higher emission vehicles is a first step in fighting climate change. At present our motor tax system is based on engine size. However from next year motor tax will also include an emissions-based system to further emphasise the impact of greenhouse gases on climate change.

Now, while I realise that no one likes to hear about taxes being increased, creating an emission based motor tax system is vital if Ireland is to meet the obligations we have signed up to under the Kyoto Protocol. Those motorists who make the effort to move to low emission or small engine vehicles should be rewarded, while those that do not have to pay extra to reflect the environmental cost of their choices.

The argument being put forward by Tom McGurk that we shouldn’t act here in Ireland because China continues to pollute is completely bogus for two reasons. Firstly, how can we ask developing countries to reduce their emissions if we aren’t prepared to do the same thing? Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, Ireland has signed up to achieving reductions in our emissions levels under the Kyoto Protocol. If we fail to meet these, we will be fined. An emissions based motor tax system is one method of achieving this.

If we take Tom McGurk’s advice, not only do we lose any authority in calling for other countries to fight climate change, we will actually be exposing ourselves to even greater risk of major fines.

Press Release – Extra funding for recycling in Fingal welcome – O’Gorman

05/11/07

The news that the Minister for the Environment John Gormley is to give Fingal County Council and extra €271,600 to fund recycling facilities has been welcomed by Green Party Dublin 15 representative, Roderic O’Gorman.

“I warmly welcome this extra €271,600 in funding for recycling in Fingal. One of the things I hear most regularly from people in Dublin 15 is that they want to see recycling made easier. This funding has been granted to Fingal CC to allow it offset some of the costs of running bring centres and bottle banks. In particular, Minister Gormley is granting this money in light of the increased costs for those local authorities involved with the recycling of plastics”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.

The grant to Fingal County Council was part of an overall grant of €4 million made by the Minister for the Environment. The money comes from the Environmental Fund.

“What’s particularly worthwhile about this extra funding is that it comes from monies raised through the Plastic Bag Tax and the Landfill Levy. It’s great to see that taxes on environmentally harmful activities are being ring-fenced and redirected to supporting those who are making the effort to recycle”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.

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